(FREDERICTON, N.B.) – The University of New Brunswick is pleased to announce the appointment of Sarah Hilworth as the head coach of its women's varsity hockey team.
Hilworth joins the Varsity Reds after two seasons as head coach of the Broncos at Olds College in Alberta.
There, she built the Broncos women's hockey program up from its birth in 2015.
Prior to becoming the first women's hockey coach at Olds College, Hilworth served two seasons as an assistant coach with the University of Alberta Pandas, helping lead her alma mater to back-to-back first-place finishes and the 2015 Canada West championship.
She played five seasons for the Pandas, capturing a national championship in 2010, captaining the team in her final season, and registering 100 points in 100 career games. She is a graduate from the University of Alberta with a bachelor of arts in sport, recreation and tourism.
"We are very excited to have Sarah join the UNB team," said George McLean, UNB's vice-president academic (Fredericton). "Sarah's leadership experience as both a coach and a player will undoubtedly inspire passion and confidence in this new team and will continue to provide valuable contributions to the student experience at UNB, in the classroom, on the ice, and in the dressing room."
"Sarah is the right person to lead the Varsity Reds back into varsity women's hockey," said John Richard, UNB's director of athletics. "Her experience as a head coach, as an assistant coach and as a student athlete were things that really stood out during the hiring process."
"She's had recent experience with starting a program from scratch, and that's what we're doing here. We're excited to have Sarah leading the effort," said Richard.
Hilworth was hired following an extensive search that attracted the interest of more than 40 candidates from across North America.
"This opportunity is a dream come true," said Hilworth. "I'm being entrusted not just to bring the women's hockey tradition back to UNB, but add another element of elite hockey in New Brunswick."
"Having Sarah on board is a real sign of our commitment to women's hockey," said Richard. "We can now get started on building on that commitment and icing a team a little more than a year from now."
"The next twelve to fourteen months will be important in building the internal foundation of success for our program," said Hilworth.
She says she's focused on a number of priorities as she prepares for the first season.
"It will be important to connect and develop relationships within the university to organize the framework for the program," she said. "We'll need to prepare and review budgets, generate some quick recruiting wins and then build recruiting, build a strategic roadmap for the next three years. I'll have to develop alumni relations and purchase the necessities for year one including equipment and jerseys."
Hilworth acknowledges she'll be launching the team in the home of one of the most successful men's hockey programs in Canadian university history. She intends to use that to her advantage.
"I'm hoping to be able to watch and learn from men's coach Gardiner MacDougall and his team," she said. "Having one of the best coaches in Canada competing in the same building as us creates an opportunity to learn how we can utilize successful measures that they've instilled in their game and be able to implement them with the member of our team."
Source: UNB Communications